The Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort is located at 1855 South Harbor Boulevard. The autism friendly hotel is close to the Disney Theme Parks and Anaheim Convention Center. Since the hotel is directly on Anaheim’s main thoroughfare guests can easily access multiple restaurants and shopping venues.
The Sheraton Park Hotel, launched a unique autism program last month called MAX. The program, named after Maximillian, a kid with autism whose teen brother Alexander, came up with the innovative program. The program is designed to provide the ultimate package of accommodations including a comprehensive questionnaire to understand the child or adult’s unique needs.
Through this program, the hotel offers various items and services to help families with autism. The items available range from sensory items like weighted blankets to safety ones like door alarms. Also, guests can request deliveries of various much-needed items like diapers and special snacks.
What works for families
The Autism Friendly Sheraton Park Hotel has fast WIFI. Not only does this keep children and teenagers happy, but parents can also enjoy this luxury too. I signed up to be an SPG Member, so my Internet was free.
The property is also close to the Disney Parks. If you are feeling up to it, you can also walk right to the Disney Theme Parks. At a leisurely pace, it would take you 15 minutes.Otherwise, you can hop on the Anaheim trolley that will take you to the entrance for five bucks a day pass.
The Sheraton Park Hotel is right across the street from the Toy Story Parking lot. If you have kids in strollers and want a budget friendly alternative, you can hop on Disneyland’s free bus shuttle to and from the parks.
What doesn’t work for families
The property has only two sets of rather small elevators which can increase the wait times during check in and check out hours.
What is free?
For guests, I would recommend getting the SPG membership. There are several levels. Membership benefits ( depending on the level) include free water, WIFI, and access to the executive lounge.
When we booked it, we mentioned our son’s autism and our severe feather allergies. We got a call back from the MAX program coordinator the next day. She proceeded to ask at length what our son’s challenges were and detailed what the hotel staff can do for us. I was excited that they not only offered such a program but floored at the comprehensive nature of the program.
We arrived the hotel around five PM due to unexpected traffic jams we encountered in downtown LA. We opted to use the valet parking as it wasn’t too expensive and mentioned we were part of the MAX program.We were greeted warmly by Warren at the front desk who checked us in as fast as he could and even accompanied us to the room.
Looking from the outside of the property doesn’t look like a large hotel, but that changes when you enter. The lobby decorated in standard neutrals is large and provides ample seating to guests.
As you enter, there is a large bar area that was quite lively with patrons enjoying appetizers and happy hour drinks. Like all the Anaheim area hotels, this one too had an assigned booth that sold theme park tickets and provided maps. We liked the fact that the lobby had several computers and a printer for guests to use as well a wall mounted TV to catch the daily news.
The hotel guests are mainly families visiting the parks with a few business people. Due to its proximity to the convention center, the ratio may change when there are large conventions in town.
Our room was on the seventh floor, room 719. The door had a customary lock with an additional dead bolt placed higher up the door.
As you entered, there was a mirrored door, with a small closet on the right side of the room. Along with the vanity and bathroom area. I liked that the room came with a mini safe in the closet and an ironing board.
On the left side, there was an elongated desk and table accompanied by a chocolate leatherette desk chair where one could work or enjoy their meal, in their room. The room included a 42-inch TV in the center that stood over a dark wood chest.
The two queen beds with brown leatherette headboards were separated by a night stand that had a small standing lamp. The beds were clean and quite comfortable.Completing the room comfort, was a mini sitting area with a chaise and standing lamp that our son with autism claimed as his own.
The room amenities included a mini fridge that was empty waiting to for guests to fill it with drinks and snacks. There also was a Mr. coffee maker and two water bottles.
Our room faced the parks and had a small balcony that had two chairs.We appreciated the thick double curtains that blocked the light and allowed us to sleep later. The sliding door to the balcony had an additional lock on top of the one built in .unfortunately both locks could be opened by most kids older than seven years old.Hopefully in the property will add a key lock system, that many hotels are now adding in for safety and security purposes.
We were thrilled to discover our room central air conditioning was efficient so we could adjust the thermostat in the room according to our wishes. Our son likes his room temperature to be at 68 degrees Faraheight.Additionally, there were several spots we used to recharge our electronic devices that got depleted during our extended stays in the theme parks.
The moderately sized bathroom was decorated in white tiles and brown textured wall paper. There was a tub/shower combo separated from the rest of the bathroom by a curtain. Though the shower did not have a hand-held device, the tub did have a safety grab bar and clothes line to hang wet bathing suits. Although we were on the seventh floor, the water pressure was good.
By the entrance, the brick colored speckled granite topped vanity housed a single sink along with some basic toiletries. The hotel supplied us with a rubber bath mat as part of their autism Max Program.
The executive lounge
The Executive Lounge was divided into two areas providing views of the city. Space does tend to get a bit scarce in the mornings after eight AM and in the evenings when guests return from the parks. The best times to visit are either early on when they first open or very late before closing. The lounge offered a mini section of a breakfast coffee, fruits, boiled eggs, yogurt, pastries, bagels, toast, and cereal.
For dinner, they had two hot items (mozzarella sticks, jalapeño poppers, egg rolls, corn dogs, etc.) cheese, raw vegetables, few sodas, and coffee. Alcoholic drinks are not complimentary, so guests wishing to enjoy a cocktail or wine during Happy Hour need to pay for them.
The hotel restaurant 55 Café
The hotel has a quaint diner style restaurant that is family-friendly. The venue serves the typical American grub that most kids and adults love. The only problem we encountered is that during peak hours when the restaurant runs at full capacity, service gets a bit slow and not conducive to antsy kids.
As mentioned before the hotel is on Harbor Boulevard with many dining options around; from the 24-hour IHOP to fancy dining like Morton’s steakhouse. There are also places like 7-11 and CVS that are mini marts with fresh fruits and sandwiches for those wishing to grab a quick bite.
Pool and Gym
The property’s pool which goes from 2ft to 10ft is set among luscious tropical foliage that will remind patrons of tropical resorts. Seating is ample and fresh towels are supplied. Adults can enjoy the hot tub or a drink at the nearby bar. Parents should be aware that there are no life guards, so they need to be vigilant about their kid’s whereabouts. For guests that wish to work out after trekking the theme parks, the gym boasts treadmills, weights, and elliptical machines.
The property features a very well stocked store called Cafasia Gifts and Expresso. Apart from Starbucks coffees, it has fruit cups, milk, sandwiches, pastries. Also, it sells souvenir gifts and all the sundries you can think of! According to the MAX papers, it even sells floaties and diapers of all sizes.
The ART, (Anaheim Resort Transport) has a stop right at the hotel. There is a bench with a kiosk outside where you can purchase your bus pass. Once you leave the hotel, remember that bus three is the one that brings you right back to the autism friendly Sheraton Park Hotel.
Compared to its neighbors the property’s pricing is quite competitive. Rooms range anywhere between $150 and $350 depending on the time of year. Moreover, SPG loyalists can also pay for the room with their SPG or Marriott loyalty points.
As I mentioned, the staff reception was great.
Warren made sure we were comfortable and was there to answer any questions or request. We did find the room clean and in perfect order which made us believe housekeeping is efficient.
Since the hotel is situated on the main strip of Anaheim, there is always an extensive police presence. The doors at the Sheraton Park Hotel lock at night, so you must have your room key to get in. Furthermore, guests need to insert their room keys for the elevator to work. That way, even if a random person could walk in after a guest, they can’t use the elevator.
Autism Travel Tips
If you want to see the fireworks, make sure to ask for a room facing the parks. However, these rooms do face Harbor Boulevard that has quite a bit of traffic, so it is on the noisy side. Be aware that there is currently some construction going on Harbor Boulevard starting at 7 am.
If your child is smell sensitive, ask that housekeeping to abstain from using any aerosols during your stay.
We loved the concept of the colorful bracelet the hotel gives out to its MAX program guests. The bracelet allows staff to identify families that need to be helped with the proper accommodations.
Overall, our stay at the autism friendly Sheraton Park Hotel was great. For families looking to stay near the theme park entrance, the Sheraton Park Hotel is a sound choice. As I mentioned earlier, they pioneered an autism friendly program, which I wish more properties will decide to copy.
Have you stayed at the autism friendly Sheraton Park Hotel? What accommodations, if any, would you like to see added to their MAX program?